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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Must See Sports - Fourth Weekend of August 2011

We are getting closer and closer to the start of the regular season in football. Until then, MLB pennant races and NFL preseason action is available to whet your sports appetite.

Thurdsay, August 25


Boston Red Sox at Texas Rangers
Andrew Miller (5-1, 4.99 ERA) – Red Sox vs Alexi Ogando (12-5, 3.30 ERA)

The Rangers had the second place Anaheim Angels on the ropes in the AL West race, but a skid of 4 losses in five games, after winning a four game series against the Angels, has made the division race very close again. The Red Sox obliterated the Rangers last night, but with the change in pitching matchups comes a change in the odds.

Alexi Ogando has been solid gold, unbeaten in his last four starts and nearly three times as many strikeouts as walks in those four starts. Andrew Miller only has one start in the month of August as the Red Sox try to get by until their starting rotation is completely healthy, as Clay Bucholtz remains on the disabled list.

Advantages: Game – Rangers, Series - split

Ogando has been lights out all year. the Rangers will need him to be if they are to stay ahead of the Angels with any margin for error. 1

Friday, August 26

NFL Preseason Football

Green Bay Packers at Indianapolis Colts

The third preseason game is typically a dress rehearsal for the regular season. Fans can typically expect to see starters in the game well into the second half. Fans should not, however, expect to see Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, as he continues to recover from offseason neck surgery.

Fans will be helped to a dose of Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, in what should be the best indicator of how ready he is to defend the Packers’ Super Bowl title. What is not certain is how much time Colts QB Kerry Collins, signed earlier this week as a backup for Manning, will see.

Clearly, there is concern in Colts camp. Collins, a veteran heading into his 17th year, was signed to a two year deal, paying $4 million per year. That is not money you pay to a guy you think will ride the pine all season.

Collins could be a real pain in the neck for opponents. Now he'll help relieve the Colts in case Manning's pain in the neck keeps him from playing.  2
Saturday, August 27


Atlanta Braves at New York Mets
Jair Jurrgens (13-5, 2.71 ERA) – Braves vs R.A. Dickey (5-11, 3.72 ERA) – Mets

The reemergence of first baseman Dan Uggla (.231, 30 HR, 67 RBI), with his recent 33 game hitting streak, has enabled the Braves, winners of 9 of their last 11, to get hot at the right time. The Braves have all but clinched the National League Wild Card, with a nine game lead over the San Francisco Giants. While a longshot, they are still in the race for the National League East division title.

R.A. Dickey has not recorded a win in over a month. This does not bode well when facing a team in the Braves that has lights-out pitching and bats, which were dormant, now hitting the ball, in August, better than they have all year. When your best hitter in Jose Reyes (.336, 5 HR, 37 RBI) is on the disabled list and your statistical slugging leader, Carlos Beltran, is no longer with the team, every game has the change to be a L..O..N..G one!

Advantages: Game – Braves, Series – Braves

Sunday, August 28

NFL Preseason Football

New Orleans Saints at Oakland Raiders

This nationally televised game on NBC’s Sunday Night Football should tell fans of both of these teams a lot about their progress through the preseason. The Saints looked very good against a very bad San Francisco 49ers team in their first exhibition, but looked offensively inept, at times, and absolutely porous against the run against the Houston Texans last week.

The Raiders, at 8-8, had their best regular season record since reaching the Super Bowl in the 2002 season. The Saints, a Super Bowl contender this season, will offer a challenging litmus test for the Silver & Black. Let’s all hope that the fans are improved over last week in their behavior.

Can't we all just get along! 3
Wednesday, August 31

New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox
A.J. Burnett (9-10, 4.96 ERA) – Yankees vs Andrew Miller (5-1, 4.99 ERA) – Red Sox

As of this morning, the Red Sox lead the Yankees in the American League East division by a single game. The Red Sox have owned the Yankees all year, but the Sox are working with a backup plan in their starting pitching rotation. Ordinarily, when two evenly matched teams face off, I think that the pitching matchup will decide the game. However, the Yankees’ A.J. Burnett has yet to rise to any occasion this season, so much that many analysts have suggested the younger, lesser salaried Ivan Nova (13-4, 3.97 ERA) replace Burnett at the #2 spot in the pitching rotation.

Curtis Granderson of the Yankees (.277, 35 HR, 98 RBI) continues to smash the ball and carry the lineup. He should have some help as Alex Rodriguez (.294, 13 HR, 52 RBI) should likely be back from injury by next Wednesday. The Red Sox continue to smoke the ball all over the park, at or near the top of the Major Leagues in every team hitting category. While the Red Sox lineup is solid from top-to-bottom, Adrian Gonzalez (.347, 21 HR, 99 RBI) continues to stand out with batting numbers worthy of MVP consideration.

Advantages: Game – Red Sox, Series – Red Sox

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